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July 3, 2023

The Secret Life of Carolyn Russell by Gail Aldwin ~ a Review

by MK French

In 1979, Carolyn Russell had a crush on her math teacher, who was also her tutor. She disappeared, and the leads dried up. In 2014, journalist Stephanie Brett created a podcast to discover what truly happened to Carolyn Russell. While her confidence and flagging career are boosted, leads dry up all over again. Is it worth it to find the truth?

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of mystery novel The Secret Life of Carolyn Russell by Gail Aldwin
July 2023; Bloodhound Books; 978-1504086714
ebook, print (298 pages); mystery

Let go from her job, Stephanie struggled to figure out what to do next and how to pay her bills. It's a common enough feeling, so from the outset, we commiserate with her. She used to go to school with Carolyn, who simply vanished after exams. Stephanie digs into the various people who had been at the school at the time, Carolyn's secret job, and the few friends she had at the time. Interspersed with that are flashbacks of Carolyn's life from the period, until we find out what actually happened to her.

The reader knows more than Stephanie does, and we see how Carolyn went down the path that she did. By the time we hit the end, I find it mostly sad. The worry and fear that is real from the people left behind was discounted, and what could have been a repairable relationship was gone. Stephanie's life might be looking up, though, and I wish her the best. It was a compelling read, leaving me turning the pages to find out what happened.

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 

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